Hargreaves Hill Bourbon Barrel-Aged RIS 2021

Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout

The Hargreaves Hill’s Russian Imperial Stout is a much-loved release at Crafty Towers, with the annual beer tending to blend complexity, richness and drinkability each time it arrives. All the more impressive too, is how that complexity tends to be developed without the aid of barrels but more recent times have brought some very rare exceptions to that rule, first with V.S.O.P brandy barrels in 2019 and for the first time, 2021 has brought a bourbon-aged release. It sold out in a near-instant from the brewery’s online store too (but it’s still available from multiple indie retailers at the time of writing - see below), so it’s safe to say there’s a fair bit of interest in what is the pioneering brewery’s most limited beer in some years.

As for what’s in the 440ml tin, the brewery’s RIS spent six months aging in bourbon barrels for a result that makes it even richer than the “wave of glutenous, fudgy molasses, cacao and figs” we described the most recent incarnation the imperial stout as providing. In fact, it’s quite hard to describe how smooth and voluptuous the beer is without using the term “fudge” again and again while adding the addendum that this would be fudge made with no shortage of bourbon and its associated sweeter spirit flavours. Largely gone too are the roasted edge from the original and while there is a touch of espresso coffee, largely, it's pronounced vanilla and a wave of brown sugar and molasses swirling through the glass.

Will Ziebell

Published August 25, 2021

Hargreaves Hill

Factory 60
64-86 Beresford Road
Lilydale 3140

(03) 9730 1905
CBCo Goldy

More from Hargreaves Hill

Hargreaves Hill Kenny & Hazy Double IPA Citrus
West Coast IPA & Hazy Double IPA
6.0% & 8.0%
Hargreaves Hill Strawberry & Watermelon Sour
Hargreaves Hill Whirlpool Pilsner & Celestial Fuzz Fruited IIPA
Hoppy Pilsner & Fruited IIPA
5.5% & 8.0%
Hargreaves Hill 0 IBU & 100 IBU IPAs
NEIPA & San Diego WCIPA ft Terpenes
Both 7.0%
Hargreaves Hill The Phoenix '23 & Double ESB
Imperial Red Ale & Double ESB
9.6% & 8.0%
Hargreaves Hill Superdelic Fragilistic Expialid Oatish & Naughty
Oat Cream IPA & Barrel-Aged Schwarzbier
7.6% & 6.0%
Hargreaves Hill Team World DIPA & R.I.S. 2022
Hazy Double IPA & Russian Imperial Stout
8.5% & 11.2%
Hargreaves Hill Team America, Australia & New Zealand IPAs
Hazy IPAs
All 6.7%
Hargreaves Hill Fruit Ninja & Kenneth Son Of Zenith '23
Smoothie Sour & Imperial IPA
6.0% & 8.5%
Hargreaves Hill Sunshine and Roller Skates California IPA
California IPA
Hargreaves Hill 18th Birthday Packs
Various styles as indicated
5.2% & 4.9% & 11.5% & 10.0%
Hargreaves Hill Red Vienna Lager & Single Origin Coffee Stout
Vienna Lager & Coffee Stout
5.0% & 6.2%
Hargreaves Hill Barrel-Aged Double ESB & Creaming Soda Stout
Barrel-Aged Double ESB & Sweet Stout
9.0% & 6.0%
Hargreaves Hill R.I.S. 2021
Imperial Stout
Hargreaves Hill Phoenix 2022
Imperial Red Ale
Hargreaves Hill Paper Hands & Diamond Hands
West Coast & Hazy Double IPAs
Both 7.7%
Hargreaves Hill Guava & Strawberry Sour & Margarita Gose '22
Fruit Sours
5.0% & 4.0%
Hargreaves Hill Uninterrupted Prosperity NEIPA
Hargreaves Hill & Four Pillars Gin Barrel Gose 2021
Gin Barrel Aged Gose
Hargreaves Hill Knock Off Lager & Pursuit 10.2
Lager & Triple IPA with Fruit
4.0% & 10.0%